IndyCar: Charlie Kimball ready to kick into high gear for season’s stretch run

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With three-quarters of the Verizon IndyCar Series season complete, it’s time for Charlie Kimball to shift his season into overdrive.

Although Kimball has no wins, poles or podium finishes, he’s still performed well overall in the first 12 races of the season, with two top-fives (Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Indianapolis 500) and six other top-10s.

The California native enters Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway in 10th place in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings.

In the three years that the series has raced there, Pocono has been a mixed bag for Kimball and the No. 83 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

He finished 12th in last year’s race and a career-worst 17th in 2014.

But on the flip side, and this is what Kimball hopes to replicate – or better – on Sunday, he finished runner-up in the first race there in 2013.

After his worst outing of the current season – 16th at Belle Isle 2 – Kimball has put together a good run of results since.

He was sixth at Road America, 10th at Iowa, 11th at Toronto and eighth almost three weeks ago at Mid-Ohio.

Kimball isn’t just knocking on the door for another top-five, he’s ready to kick that door down. And this weekend could not be a better time. While his 318 points have him ranked 10th in the standings, Kimball is only 39 points out of fifth place (currently occupied by Scott Dixon).

Another reason to add to Kimball’s optimism is last week’s open test at Pocono went very well for him and his team.

“We learned a lot testing at Pocono Raceway, mostly focusing on mechanical and aero changes so we have a good plan for the qualifying and race car setups when we return for the ABC Supply 500,” Kimball said. “If conditions were like they were during testing, I think there’s going to be a lot of talk about balance this weekend.

“As far as how the race strategy plays out, it’s anyone’s guess right now – we’ll have to wait and see if yellows play a big part or if we’re clean and fast.

“Even with a couple of test days, two off weekends seems like an eternity to be away from the track. I’m looking forward to going back for 500 miles on Sunday with the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Team.”

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